Orthodox Judaism is a stream of Judaism which adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws and ethics first canonized in the Talmud and later codified in the Shulkhan Arukh. Rabbis in Orthodox Judaism interpret and apply classical Rabbinical rulings and logic to any given question or situation. Orthodox Jews can be classified into several subgroups. Some subgroups of Orthodoxy are Modern Orthodox Judaism, Haredi Judaism, and Hasidic Judaism. The greatest differences are over the degree to which an Orthodox Jew should seprate from modern secular society. Other important topics of debate are, the relative value of Torah study versus secular studies or other pursuits, the importance of a central spiritual guide, the importance of maintaining non-Halakhic customs, and the relationship of the modern state of Israel to Judaism.
While many Orthodox Jews accept the label "Orthodox", others reject and criticize it because it was never traditionally applied to Jews in ancient times or the Middle Ages. Many Orthodox Jews prefer to call their faith Torah Judaism. Unlike the modern denominations of Judaism, Orthodoxy is not a single movement or school of thought. There is no single group which all rabbis are expected to belong to. In the United States at the present time, there are a number of Orthodox congregational organizations, but none of them can claim to represent even a majority of all Orthodox congregations.
Orthodox Jews believe that God gave Moses the whole Torah (Written and Oral) at Mount Sinai. Written Torah refers to the first five books of the Bible. Oral Torah interprets and explains the Written Torah. Orthodox Jews believe that the Torah contains 613 "mitzvot", or commandments, that are binding upon Jews. Orthodox Judaism is composed of different groups with intersecting beliefs, practices and theologies, and in their broad patterns, the Orthodox movements are very similar. Modern Orthodox Jews strictly observe...
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